Just moments into the first round of the main event at the Ultimate Fighter Live finale, Jake Ellenberger cracked Martin Kampmann on the jaw with a vicious left hook.
Kampmann dropped to the mat in a flash and immediately Ellenberger swarmed looking to put him away. As the Nebraska native flurried with a barrage of punches, Kampmann grabbed at his arms to try and control the situation and regain his composure.
As close as it was to being over, Kampmann was able to eventually pull Ellenberger in his guard and keep the fight moving.
In the 2nd round the roles were reversed after Kampmann clipped Ellenberger with a short right hand that stunned him, and after three consecutive knee strikes, it was Ellenberger who crashed to the ground.
As his arms fell backwards and it appeared his head hit the ground, before Kampmann could return the favor with a swarm of strikes, referee Steve Mazzagatti came in to stop the fight.
“He did hit me with a good one, kind of rocked me a little bit, just trying to keep my balance, but he’s in this position for a reason. He’s a tough guy, I’ve got a lot of respect for him,” Ellenberger said about Kampmann’s comeback in the fight.
In a flash it looked like the stoppage was just and done right. Ellenberger’s head snapped back against the ground and his arms went limp as Kampmann rushed in to inflict more damage.
Still after a first round that saw Kampmann in some serious trouble as well, Ellenberger admitted after the fight was over that he wished he got a little extra consideration to battle back, but it’s not his call.
“That’s up to the ref, that’s the ref’s discretion. That’s just the way it goes, but I had him hurt, I thought I had him more hurt than he was, but he’s tough. He battled back and stayed in there,” Ellenberger stated.
“I’m a little disappointed. I felt like I could have kept fighting or possibly give me a chance to recover, but it is what it is. It’s Martin’s night.”
Gracious in defeat, Jake Ellenberger will undoubtedly move on from this loss and look to bounce back with another big fight in the UFC welterweight division later this year.
It doesn’t however remove the sting of defeat tonight or the question – was the fight stopped too early?
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